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Newsday letters to the editor for Friday, June 22, 2018

A reader says, "It's clear to most educators

A reader says, "It's clear to most educators that standardized tests are absurd measures of teaching and learning." Credit: iStock

For years, Newsday editorials have defended Common Core, blasted the opt-out movement, and, as in “Working against students’ needs,” June 11, disparaged the teachers union for supporting the decoupling of standardized test scores from teacher evaluations.

As an educator for 44 years — as a teacher, administrator and teacher educator — I have always had one question: What are the educational credentials of your editorial board? It too often seems that those who have the most to say about public educational policy and students’ needs, from politicians to journalists to even federal secretaries of education, have the least, if any, experience with them.

It’s clear to most educators that standardized tests are absurd measures of teaching and learning. They are rife with biases, subject to test anxiety and often corrupted by mistakes. They discriminate against teachers who have more students, or more students who have special needs, are economically disadvantaged, are non-primary English speakers or have different learning styles.

Standardized tests also conspire against teachers who resist teaching to the tests, want to teach about things of value not on the tests, or try to apply brain science when it comes to meeting students’ real learning needs. Teacher assessment, like student assessment, is critical, but it should be done by knowledgeable educators using legitimate criteria.

Alan M. Weber,Medford

Editor’s note: The author is an assistant professor of early childhood education at Suffolk County Community College.

How U.S. goods could benefit

I understand why Long Island manufacturers are concerned about the effects of U.S. tariffs [“A tit-for-tat on tariffs worries LI’s factories,” News, June 16].

However, I was surprised there was no mention of the fact that more-expensive foreign goods can make U.S. products more attractive on price in the United States, giving domestic manufacturers more customers from the world’s largest market. Although a manufacturer might lose some foreign customers, they certainly might gain domestic customers.

Peter Lanci,Commack